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Hamstring shelves Duncan

By DARRELL FRY and ROGER MILLS

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 5, 2001


TAMPA -- Middle linebacker Jamie Duncan was held out of Saturday's scrimmage at Pepin/Rood Stadium because of a pulled right hamstring.

Duncan said he injured the hamstring during Friday's afternoon practice. He made it to the end of practice, but the Bucs held him out Saturday to allow the hamstring time to heal. Second-year linebacker Nate Webster took Duncan's place as a starter.

"We don't think it's serious," coach Tony Dungy said.

Even with another day of rest today when players are off, Duncan wasn't sure Saturday whether he'll participate when camp resumes Monday.

"I don't know right now," he said. "I'm just going to wait and see how it feels over the next couple of days. You don't want it to get more severe and then be out three or four weeks as opposed to a week."

Although he is not expected to miss many practices, Duncan is the fourth significant player lost temporarily during the first week of camp, joining linebacker Derrick Brooks (contract holdout), punter Mark Royals (sprained right knee) and fullback Mike Alstott (strained left hamstring).

RYAN'S WORLD: Quarterback Ryan Leaf struggled at times during the scrimmage. Sharing time with Shaun King and Joe Hamilton, Leaf was solid, but threw two interceptions. Hamilton also had a pass picked off.

"That's what happens. You get in a game situation with a crowd and you want to make things happen," Dungy said. "The big thing our quarterbacks have to understand is we've got to take care of the ball. That's why we practice. ... He'll get to see it on tape and understand what went wrong."

Offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said Leaf's development since arriving from San Diego may be slowed by the fact he's coming off a wrist injury during minicamp in May and has had to adjust to Florida's humidity.

Leaf struggled with the heat on the opening day of camp.

"I think there are some errors we've got iron out," Christensen said. "I think the heat bothered him the most. There aren't those Pacific breezes now. There's not much humidity there in San Diego."

YOU WERE EXPECTING MORE: The highly-anticipated remodeling of the Bucs offense had a modest opening week of camp, according to Christensen.

Asked how he would grade the offense's first week, Christensen said: "Average."

Christensen harped on what he considered an inordinate amount of mistakes.

"We had too many errors to be happy with the first week. I think the effort has been okay, but the critical errors have jumped out," he said. "I think the heat was a problem early, (but) there were too many errors.

"We're a veteran team and we just have got to know that there isn't (continuity). Maybe we are missing some players like Brad (Johnson), but that's what's going to happen over the year. It's a long year and you're going to have some time when some guys are down and you still have to play consistently."

Overall, Dungy seemed satisfied with what the team accomplished.

"We saw some good things on defense, but the defense is a little easier to get in. Our offense is coming and catching up. We've got to eliminate some of the mistakes that we've had. Drop balls and things like that," he said. "But overall I think the guys have a good sense of what we're doing. And we're pleased with the progress of the first week."

INJURY UPDATE: King strained his right shoulder after a slight collision Saturday with defensive end Marcus Jones. He left the field with the shoulder wrapped, but is expected to recover by Monday's workouts. "He got run into and I don't know the extent of it, but I don't think it's major," Dungy said.

Receiver Reidel Anthony (left ankle sprain) and guard Russ Hochstein (right hand fracture) sat out but are expected back on Monday.

Royals, cornerback Terrance Parrish (right Achilles' strain), receiver Frank Rice (right hamstring strain), running back Jamie Wilson (left hamstring strain) and tight end Todd Yoder (illness) remained sidelined.

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